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Suriname - Top Tips

Super Seven


The capital offered plenty of sights to explore and many of these are within walking distance. It's easy to see why the inner city of Paramaribo is a UNESCO site, as the streets are lined with ornate wooden Dutch colonial buildings, which gives the city plenty of charm. Some notable sights worth checking out are the Presidential Palace, Saint Peter & Paul Basilica, Palmtree Garden, Fort Zeelandia, and the Neveh Shalong Synagogue. Whilst walking the inner city, you'll also pass by many monuments, such as the Korean War Memorial. The weather does get quite warm for large parts of the year, so I'd recommend morning or late afternoon to cover the sights.

Maroon Village Visit Whilst in Suriname, you do have the opportunity to visit a local Maroon Village. Across the continent, there's a number of Maroon Villages, which have essentially been formed from runaway slave communities. The one I chose to visit was Santigron, which is 30k from the capital and home to the Saramacca tribe. Once entering the village, you have to visit the "captain" and gain approval to enter the community. It was a great cultural experience to integrate with the locals, learn about traditional practices, and see them go about everyday life along the Samacca river. This is also a great opportunity for photography lovers. I personally, took a Polaroid printer and gave out a selection of photos to the elders in the village.

Traditional Dance

Whilst in Santigron, I was fortunate enough to experience a local concert performance that consisted of a full band with wooden instruments, combined traditional dancers. This needed to be arranged beforehand via our guide, but was minimal hassle and something I'd definitely recommend. The performance far exceeded what I was expecting and was fantastic to photograph. The dance is referred to as "The Dance of the Fish" and the dancers had percussion instruments around their ankles that are referrred to as Ghungaroo.

Fredberg The highlight of my entire Suriname trip was definitely the hike to Fredberg. I used a local operator called Jenny Tours. This is a 2N 3D excursion that combines adventure, nature, and stunning views. This is exploring the interior of the country, so be aware that the start point is a 5 hour drive from Paramaribo. You'll hike through the inner rainforest until you reach Freberg, which is a giant granite rock mountain. From here, you'll have an exceptional view across the vast Surinamese jungle that seems to go on forever. Depending on time, you will likely catch sunset here, followed by sunrise after your overnight stay in hammocks. As far as wildlife goes, there's potential to see cock-of-the-rock, toucans, snakes, lizards, and macaws. The second night is camping in an eco lodge directly on a river, which is a great place to cool off.

Bird Watching Across The Guianas as a whole, Suriname is often labelled as the "best bird watching destination" and it was evident to see why. There were so many birds of so many species. I'm not an expert, but I do enjoy photography, and was definitely impressed with the variety. The national bird of Suriname is the Lesser Kiskadee, so you'll see plenty of those, along with the beautiful cock-of-the-rock. Top spots for the birds were Fredberg and Peperpot Nature Park.

Peperpot Nature Park Once you cross the Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge over the Suriname River, there's a handful of attractions worth the short drive. I'd recommend stopping by Peperpot Nature Park, which for the record, is NOT a zoo. The former Peperpot Plantation is now an area where nature has fully taken over. You'll pay a small entry fee of approx $12 USD as you enter, where there'll be various walkways you can stroll, or even cycle. I'd barely walked 20 meters before seeing a three-toe sloth slowly climbing along the tree branch above. In addition, plenty of birds, lizards, brown capuchin, and many squirrel monkeys. Realistically, allocate a couple of hours here to walk at a slow pace and focus on wildlife spotting.

Outdoor Museum - Fort Amsterdam

Within the grounds of Fort Amsterdam, there's an outdoor museum that's a worthy stop. There's memorabilia from past conflict, as well as an old prison building and plenty of chilling artefacts referencing the slave trade. Overall, it's the earliest surviving Dutch structure in Suriname. For travellers who like unusual, there's an old Dutch lightvessel that's now permanently docked in a wetland within the fort. Not the easiest spot to reach due to overgrown forest, but you'll see the lighthouse stern poking above the trees. Note - There's a $3 USD entry fee payable at the gate.

Accommodation Advice

Firstly, I was surprised at the limited range of hotels on offer in Paramaribo, but worth noting I was travelling at peak season. I chose Hotel Palacio for my stay and was very impressed! Central location, good value for money, helpful staff, and the fastest WiFi during my travels across The Guianas. I can't give an opinion on the breakfast, as I was out early each day, but there's plenty of local bakeries within walking distance.

Food Factor

The best food I had during my stay in Suriname was actually from Julia's Food Centrum, which is directly adjacent to Hotel Palacio. Considering it has a breakfast menu, I found 9:30am to be a very late opening time, but the afternoon lunch options were very tasty. The Mexican chicken salad was a winner, as were the nachos. Also a great spot to pick up a decent coffee.

Note - Also an honourable mention to Sushi-Ya, albeit a little on the expensive side.

Good Guide

With one of the absolute highlights during my trip being the visit to Fredberg, I want to recommend Jenny Tours, as they were the local agency that helped make it happen. The excursion was 285 Euro, which included full transport, return hike, all meals, and 2 nights accommodation (one night hammock, one night lodge).

As for Paramaribo and surroundings, I can highly recommend the service of Carlos. He was punctual, with good communication, and offers a fair price. You can reach Carlos via Whatsapp on +597 8745182. I also used his transport service to reach Albina Border prior to my French Guiana crossing.

Specifically for the Maroon Village, you can use Gio Tours who you can contact via Whatsapp on +597 8901113. Gio has many years experience working with multiple Maroon communities, which makes it a comfortable setting for both parties.


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